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Wick actress Glenna takes on new role as children's author

By Alan Hendry

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Glenna Morrison with Oliver, the family pet that has 'food on the brain'.
Glenna Morrison with Oliver, the family pet that has 'food on the brain'.

Glenna Morrison is well known for her work as an actress, and now she is taking on a new role as a children's author – with a tale about a hungry dog and the "ultimate quest" for its next meal.

The idea for her book Oliver's Travels came from the mischievous Lhasa Apso that Glenna and her family rehomed before the first Covid lockdown.

Originally from Wick, Glenna left Caithness at 18 to start drama training and has worked professionally in theatre, film and TV for 30 years.

Glenna, an early childhood educator in central Scotland, explained: "I work with young children aged zero to five. This book is aimed more at 5-8 because the language is a bit more advanced, but it's inspired by just reading so many stories to the kids over the years.

"It was fun to do and it's a rhyming book. It can be sung as well – it can be sung to the Irish folk tune I'll Tell Me Ma.

"We got Oliver just before lockdown and I was really taken by him. Oliver was such a wee ball of fun, and obviously dogs are hungry all the time, so I thought of the story of this ultimate quest for the perfect snack and he encounters all these people on his travels.

"He has food on the brain – everything revolves around his next snack."

Oliver's Travels has a publication date of December 8.

Glenna (52) now lives in Alloa and a book launch is being planned in the Clackmannanshire town.

Her stage roles have ranged from Charlotte Brontë to Björk as well as the character Allison in Trainspotting, while her TV work has included The Bill, Taggart, Two Thousand Acres of Sky, Casanova and River City. Her lead role in Hearing Things co-starring Felicity Jones won them a best film award at the Moondance International Film Festival.

However, she describes her job in education as her "bread and butter".

Glenna explained: "Acting is a hard job to sustain. I kind of dip in and out with the acting.

"It's a tough one unless you're a regular on a TV series or you're in rep. The majority of actors have another job."

Earlier this year Glenna took her first play, Guffy, to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It is centred around three generations of one family and Glenna described it as "an allegorical tale" on the theme of Scotland's past, present and potential future.

It has since been nominated in the OffFest category of the Offies, the annual awards for independent and fringe theatre.

Guffy was staged at Pleasance Courtyard Venue 33 in August.

"It went really well," Glenna said. "We got two really lovely reviews and we got two really awful reviews, but unfortunately the awful reviews came out first. So it was a little bit difficult, but we just had to keep ourselves going and we got some amazing audience feedback.

"We've been nominated for an Offie award, which is an off West End award. I don't hold much hope of getting one but it's really nice to be nominated. It was a fantastic experience."

Glenna is the daughter of the late David Morrison, well-known Wick poet, painter, editor and librarian, while her brother Ewan is an award-winning novelist, scriptwriter and essayist.

Mum Edna (88) lives close to Glenna and her family in Alloa.

Glenna would often read stories and tell tales to her children, Luca and Marilena, now 17 and 13 respectively.

Last autumn Glenna attended an event in Wick commemorating the 10th anniversary of her father's passing.

Glenna and mum Edna with Oliver the Lhasa Apso.
Glenna and mum Edna with Oliver the Lhasa Apso.

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